ATS grills ‘radicalised’ Pune school girl who ‘wants to join IS’

A 16-year-old Muslim girl from Pune who was apparently radicalised by her ISIS contacts abroad and brainwashed to go to Syria, has been questioned by sleuths of Pune Anti-Terrorism Squad and sent to a de-radicalisation programme, an ATS officer said in Pune late Thursday.

The officer said the girl is a bright convent educated class 11 student, studying in a city college. “The girl was interrogated by the ATS last week after monitoring her movements for many days on getting information about her. It confirmed her initiation by the ISIS.

“The interrogation of the girl revealed that she was ready to go to any extent to carry out the ISIS directive,” Pune ATS officer Bhanupratap Barge told PTI revealing the details of the ATS operation.

The girl is now undergoing a de-radicalisation programme with the help of her family members and community religious leaders, who are fully cooperating with us, he said.

According to the ATS, the girl got attracted to the ISIS ideology after watching a documentary on television and subsequently started regularly monitoring news on the Al Jazeera channel.

“Later, she used the Internet to get in touch with ISIS contacts and got in touch with about 200 young people from different countries. An interrogation of her revealed that she was told to come to Syria for medical education and for further initiation,” Barge said.

He said the girl, who is highly intelligent, had recently changed her lifestyle and started wearing a burqa, giving up the jeans she used to wear before her exposure to the ISIS contacts. “Her family members noticed the change in her and became disturbed,” the ATS inspector said.

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